We have no current plans to publish any criteria. We will use the evidence we gather from rental e-scooter trials, the responses to the Future of Transport regulatory review call for evidence and other research, to consider whether to legalise both rental and privately-owned e-scooters. E-scooters are a new vehicle type; evidence around the benefits and risks of these vehicles is limited and inconclusive. We know there are some risks, and we want to understand these and how to mitigate them. Running on-road trials of rental e-scooters is the best way to assess the safety and wider impacts of this type of vehicle and service. Data will be collected by e-scooter providers. The details of the data to be shared and the process for doing so are still being developed and will be set out in data sharing agreements between the Department and e-scooter providers, and with local authorities where required.
We have carried out an equality analysis for e-scooter trials under the Public Sector Equality Duty (s.149 Equalities Act 2010).
The combination of speed and power limits constrain how an e-scooter can be used and are intended to ensure the vehicles can be used safely, but we recognise e-scooters are likely to have a particular impact on blind and visually impaired people.
To mitigate potentially negative impacts, we have proposed:
We will also work with disability groups in monitoring and evaluating the trials and considering the implications for future policy
We increased the speed, power and weight limits of e-scooters after considering the responses to the recent consultation on e-scooter trials. We balanced these views against the equality analysis. The 15.5 mph for trial e-scooters makes the maximum speed for e-scooters the same as e-bikes and is consistent with the maximum speed for e-scooters in many other countries.
We increased the weight limit to take account of the heavier batteries of some e-scooters. We expect that most e-scooters used in trials will be well below the 55kg maximum.
We increased the power limit to 500W to ensure e-scooters are able to go up steeper inclines and carry heavier users. This was a matter raised with us during the consultation.
We have designed the trials so that e-scooters use is limited and controlled. Speed, power and weight limits constrain how an e-scooter can be used and are intended to ensure the vehicles can be used safely. Local areas are free to set limits below the maximum, but it is important that the evidence gathered in trials is representative of how e-scooters may be used in the future.
We are preparing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation plan to gather evidence from the trials. This will assess the safety risks presented by e-scooters, the mode shift to e-scooters from other forms of transport, public perceptions around their use and identify other impacts that should be considered for any potential future legalisation of e-scooters.
It is for local traffic authorities to undertake their own risk assessment of the appropriateness of using the powers available to them to permit e-scooters to share road space with pedal cycles. This assessment will be required on a case by case basis.
The Department consulted on the issue of amending the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 to enable e-scooters to share cycle lanes with pedal cycles. The consultation responses supported this approach. The Government made the necessary regulatory changes to include e-scooters within the definition of vehicles permitted to use cycle lanes and to extend signs that apply to pedal cycles to also apply to e-scooters being used in legal trials. This will be supplemented by traffic regulation orders issued by the local areas.
As the definition of cycle tracks is contained in primary legislation, the Government has not amended this definition in advance of trials starting. Instead, where deemed necessary, local authorities can re-designate cycle tracks using the TRO process as appropriate.